JAPAN: Hub for innovation and research

JAPAN: Hub for innovation and research
The Government of Japan has been actively working to increase penetration of 4K and 8K digital screens in the nation by 52.4 per cent and integrate 27 million 4K TVs by the year 2020.

Japan dominates in science and technology with state-of-the-art futuristic creations



by

Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Sun 16 Oct 2016, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 17 Oct 2016, 1:39 PM

Japan is at the forefront of technology, as the country is known for its ever-evolving innovative products in consumer electronics, aeronautics, artificial intelligence as well as scientific breakthroughs.
In the digital sector, the past years have seen a global rise of 4K and 8K technology that promise crystal clear resolution for a 3D viewing experience. In the drive to become the "world's most advanced IT nation", Japanese firms have been innovatively using the technology in various fields. 
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According Jun Mizutani, Director for Satellite and Regional Broadcasting, Information and Communications Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, the Government of Japan has been actively working to increase the penetration level of these digital screens in the nation by 52.4 per cent and integrate 27 million 4K TVs by the year 2020.
In an interview with Khaleej Times last year, he mentioned that the clarity and fluidity of motion would significantly impact the fields of security and medicine, for example, identifying criminals or performing intricate surgeries. To date, a number of Japanese electronics brands have also manufactured new devices to cater to 4K technology including television screens, tablets, cameras, smartphones with 4K cameras, and projectors.

Driving the vehicle and tools industry
Automobiles and machinery too are fast dominating in respective industries, marked by global exports from Japan valued at $86.1 billion for automobiles (ranked second in the world after Germany) in 2015, and $36.2 million for machinery and transport equipment in July 2016 alone.
Diversified products, high standards of quality, reliable components and ease of maintenance are among the features that add to its popularity. Furthermore, continued domestic and international investments in research and development help keep the country ahead of global competition.  

Quick facts

High technology product exports account for 17 per cent of Japan's total GDP.
Main exports in 2015 (of total exports) were:

Transport equipment
24 per cent
Transport vehicles
16 per cent
Machinery
19 per cent
Electrical machinery
17.6 per cent
Manufactured goods
12 per cent
Chemicals
10 per cent
Others
1.4 per cent

Source: Trading Economics, Japan

Strengthened ties through scientific ventures
In the aeronautics sector, Japan will serve as a launching pad for the Emirates Mars Mission (also known as Al Amal or "Hope" Mars probe), following an agreement between Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries earlier this year. The Japanese multinational company is set to produce a rocket that would launch the Emirati designed and manufactured unmanned spacecraft for a scientific voyage in the year 2020.
The UAE Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are further also joined in cooperation in space activities and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, one among many collaborations between the two nations.
Robots gain consciousness
Japan has duly earned its title as a hub for advanced technology and continues to wow the world with pioneering creations built to aid mankind. Sci-fi movies aside, robots are now becoming synonymous with the country, not just in industrial uses, but also in commercial and domestic domains.
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To date, Japan has a number of prototypes under its belt (remember, Sony's AIBO robotic dog and Honda's ASIMO dancing robot), where most androids perform basic administrative tasks such as customer service and managing queues as a ticket dispenser. However, the future holds brighter possibilities as these mechanical devices are being upgraded to do more than standard tasks.
The potential of robotics knows no bounds, as demonstrated by recent innovations. Softbank's Pepper, for instance, could become part of the household, thanks to its ability to recognise features and interpret human emotions; or the Kirobo Mini could bring bundles of joy to childless couples as it mimics and responds like a human baby. Artificial intelligence models are being implemented in the healthcare sector, for example, to assist senior citizens in walking or help visit the toilet.
In June 2014, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shared his hopes to broaden the market for robots in Japan to about $22 billion by the year 2020. The robotics industry in Japan is also expecting revenues to surge to $75 million by the year 2025.
Interestingly, Japan is planning to host the first-of-its-kind World Robot Summit in the year 2020, where top industry players from all over the globe will gather to discuss the future of artificial intelligence. According to the trade ministry of Japan, the event will be an exhibition platform as well as a space for competition in categories ranging from humanoid and industrial robots.
Commendable spirit in the field of science
Japanese Cell Biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi joins the list of Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine for his findings in autophagy.
Better known as "self-eating", Ohsumi recently laid out a series of discoveries, which show that cells recycle content. They break down non-essential components and protein, notably during periods of starvation, as well as bacteria and viruses in the body, and convert them into energy.
He also proved that certain diseases and mutations could disrupt the autophagy process, which is now opening up new areas of inquiry in the molecular field. Upon winning the award, he said: "I'd like to tell young people that not all can be successful in science, but it's important to rise to the challenge."
- farhana@khaleejtimes.com


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